Finland: ‘Soldiers of Odin’ Raise Concern

From Reuters:


Soldiers of Odin

Wearing black jackets adorned with a symbol of a Viking and the Finnish flag, the “Soldiers of Odin” have surfaced as self-proclaimed patriots patrolling the streets to protect native Finns from immigrants, worrying the government and police.

On the northern fringes of Europe, Finland has little history of welcoming large numbers of refugees, unlike neighbouring Sweden. But as with other European countries, it is now struggling with a huge increase in asylum seekers and the authorities are wary of any anti-immigrant vigilantism.

A group of young men founded Soldiers of Odin, named after a Norse god, late last year in the northern town of Kemi. This lies near the border community of Tornio, which has become an entry point for migrants arriving from Sweden.

Since then the group has expanded to other towns, with members stating they want to serve as eyes and ears for the police who they say are struggling to fulfil their duties…

In Kemi, the Soldiers of Odin patrol the streets daily despite the temperatures sinking to -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit). The group has stated it operates in 23 towns…

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